Sunday, July 3, 2016

Gear Up

My Adventure Husband has an insatiable desire for gear.

To understand what I mean by this, you must first understand that he is an expert hobbyist. This means that whatever his current hobby, he researches it endlessly.  From YouTube to blogs to articles to forums, he figures out just what makes a hobby tick.  And usually, it seems--at least from my perspective--the tick is created with gear.

In the many years before we met, Jon was an ice climber, white-water kayaker, and sailboat owner, just to name a few of his hobbies.  Our storage room contains multiple bins of gear to prove it.  Our closets are filled with the best outerwear, and one of two kayaks still rests next to the garage.  He owns four bikes, and he's picking up a new one (new to him, a la Craigslist) this week.  We've got boxes of helmets, a pair of motorbike boots, hip waders, and a fishing kayak (that sucker's big).  I just pawed through a box of backpacks last week.

His non-sporty hobbies include woodworking and photography, also known as $$$$$$ and $$$$$$.

I'll admit--he sees the just-right bike, jacket, tool, or gadget...

...and I see dollar signs.

He frequently begins sentences with "I ordered x, y, or z, but don't worry, it only cost..."

When I suggested some years ago that he might like photography, I was thinking two things:
1) I am so vain, so this will totally feed my desire to be in pictures.
2) I have a nice Canon SLR, a cool zoomy lens, and a tripod already, so he won't need much gear.

Ok, so my vanity has definitely been indulged, but I couldn't have been further off when I thought he wouldn't need much gear.

Take a look, if you will, at this photo:

Gear used: New tri-pod (mine was malfunctioning), new camera (waaaaaaay fancier and the reason we could get this low-light shot), giant reflector (new also, because we didn't have one! And it proved necessary!)

Now look at this one:

Gear used: fancy camera, (new) light stand, (new) flash with (new) small umbrella.

And this one:

Gear used: fancy camera, (new) backdrop stand and (new) roll of white paper, assorted flashes, flash benders, maybe an umbrella or a beauty dish (new, new, new, and new), I don't know I wasn't there, but Woo do we have a lot of camera gear I haven't listed here on shelves in the basement, like a studio light, more flashes, more light stands, a really BIG umbrella, a light meter, color checkers, all manner of processing software, and so on and so get the picture (ha ha!)

The truth is, I love Jon's photos. Love Love Love them.  I'm pumped about our plan to convert part of the basement into a photo studio, but what started as a "hey--you can use my camera!" kind of thing, evolved into a massive gear collection and a reduction in monetary resources.

Really, though, the guy is resourceful.  Most of the wood-working power tools in the basement have come from Craigslist, and he does his homework to the degree that he finds sales, figures out where to get the best deal, and does exercise limits.  We don't have the most expensive camera or studio light, but we don't have the cheapest ones either.

And more to the point...I promise, there's a point to this post...I'm starting to see things his way.

Since I've been attempting to be more adventurous, I've noticed something very important about gear:

Having the right gear increases the quality of the experience exponentially.

I used to think a walk through the woods was a walk through the woods, regardless of attire or accouterments.  And to some degree, that's probably true.  But let me tell you, happiness has a heck of a lot to do with pants.

From my first biking adventure on Martha's Vineyard
From a long ago hiking adventure
From more recent adventures:

Jon is probably tired of hearing me say over and over again, "I just love my new pants."

I did not know pants could change my life. The just-right pants are light-weight, dry quickly, have pockets exactly where I need them, and are much cooler than jeans (and less likely to chafe).  Plus, when I get home, I can change into my jeans, which are now not caked with adventure dirt and sweat.

As for the Adventure Bag, it's this one from LL Bean.  It's super light, can fold up into a tiny self-contained pocket, and it nicely holds water, sun screen, another layer, etc. etc.  Jon has one in orange.

We've decided to have these Adventure Bags ready to go at a moment's notice.  So they've got the basic supplies (those listed above plus a pocket tool, a little first aid kit, tissues or a handkerchief, a hat, and whatever Kevin might need on a hike, like his portable water bowl and a leash).

Having the right gear, and having it handy, is really starting to change the way I see adventuring.  If I've got what I need to be comfortable, and the basic gear is grab-and-go, what excuses remain?

These things have seriously upped my Oomph.

Kevin has an adventure bag, too.

Kevin's Adventure bag, left, has toys, treats, treat pouch, poop bags, leash, and water bowl and is always by the door within easy reach.
And here's his handy, collapsible bowl:

While I may grumble about price tags, I've finally come around to seeing the benefit of spending a little more on the Just-Right gear to really enhance Adventuring.

But gosh I hope Jon doesn't read this, or who knows what we'll be ordering next!

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